Shattered Rose (Winsor Series) - By T L Gray


A special thanks to Kristina Krause of Renzenradish Photography for allowing me to use her beautiful rose photograph for the cover art.

To my brother, Josh Webb, of Root Radius, thank you so much for giving me the courage to self publish and for designing the amazing cover for my book, along with providing all the media marketing I needed.

To Brandon Hixson for my book trailer video, thank you so much. Your talent and professionalism is remarkable.

To my friends and family who helped make my dream become a reality, especially my sister, Angel, my aunt, Nancy and cousin, Katy who all painstakingly edited each word, offering guidance along the way

To my favorite cheerleaders, Angie and Tonya, thanks so much for all your encouragement and belief in me; it made all the difference.

To my wonderful husband and children, thanks for suffering through the fast food dinners and lack of laundry so I could pour my heart and soul into this book.

Finally, to my best friend, Sara, who has taken this journey with me for nineteen years and whose steadfast faith in me gave me the courage to overcome.


My heart pulsated in my chest, straining to sustain its normal function. Nothing made sense; nothing was in focus. I sat down, hoping to somehow end the crushing pain consuming my heart. I didn’t know who I was anymore. Everything I once valued and held true, I had discarded without any regard for the consequences. I could feel the numbness stretch over my shaking body, leaving me cold and empty, but my mind wouldn’t stop. Thoughts of him were frozen in permanent rewind, reminding me over and over again of how much I had failed.

How did I get here? How did I let the chains get so tight they were crippling every part of my body, dragging me further and further into this pit? I could hear the screaming in my head, begging me to let the noise out, but I just sat there, unable to move, trapped in a silent prison of my own making. The truth glared at me, mocking me for denying it for so long. I was living a lie, existing in a shell of self-delusion. I had become nothing…and he knew it.

I felt the bench shift slightly and a warm hand covered mine. Looking up through my tears, I saw warmth and compassion in the eyes of a stranger. Finally, I could focus and even hear what was going on around me. The words came, drifting slowly in the air, and penetrated the very depth of my heart.

“Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made”

The words rolled around in my head and suddenly there was a spark of something I felt deep down. I had forgotten the feeling as it had been so long since I’d felt anything other than despair, but it was there…hope, just a glimmer, but hope all the same.

“Dear Lord, I may not know who she is yet, but until that day, I pray your hand never leaves her side. I pray that you sustain her when she is in the transitions of her life and guide her on the path you’ve chosen for her…”


Four Months Earlier…

I hated change. Totally detested it usually, but not today. Even though change for me meant I was hauling all my meager belongings, currently packed floor to ceiling in my Toyota Corolla, to yet another residence in less than two weeks. I refused to complain, though. Truth was, I would have moved for days if it meant the same end result…my first apartment.

I put the last box in the front seat and took a deep breath as I turned to look at the institutional building that had been my first real home away from home. Apart from some nostalgia, I didn’t have any fond memories of the tiny two-person room and community bathroom. It represented someone I was leaving behind; someone I’d never be again.

I sat in my car, ready to leave the parking lot for the last time, wondering how I was even the same person who was dropped here just one year ago. I remembered the day I told my mom I wanted to go to Winsor, a small private college located twenty miles outside of Asheville, North